Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Snow Days

Another storm system is hitting the Midwest today, though it is just missing my region.  Last week, I enjoyed all the stories and photos I saw from Michigan's TV6 & Fox U.P., where they experienced "Yoopergeddon" in the form of a blizzard.  I was wishing I was there, and remembering snow days from years gone by.

When my kids were younger, Snow Days were Fun Days.  It would start about 5 days before the storm, when the local weatherman would say "We are keeping an eye on this system…"  The anticipation would begin with those words, and I became obsessed with watching the news to see if the storm would, indeed, be a big one.  As the days went on, the predictions would build with phrases like "this could be a significant storm" and "…a second system could merge with this one"  as the kids and I eagerly made bets on how many inches of snow might fall and how many days school would be cancelled.  Before the storm hit, I would go to the grocery store and stock up on Pizza Rolls, milk, gatorade, and popcorn.  My husband would bring home spark plugs and cans filled with gasoline for the snowmobiles and snow blower.  The kids lined their snow boots and pants up in the hallway, readying them for the first early morning hours of snowfall.  Then we would listen to the weather report and impatiently watch out the window for those first few flakes to fall.

When we woke to the official cancellation of school and a winter wonderland in our backyard, the kids got on the phone and invited all their friends over.  By 10:00am, I would have a houseful of happy kids preparing to spend the day in my yard snowmobiling, ice skating, building snow forts, creating jumps, and stockpiling snowballs.  
In a frenzy of activity, the kids went from one fun task to another while I made hot chocolate from scratch, a pot of chili, pizza rolls, and threw mittens, gloves, hats, and snowpants in the dryer.  I kept busy with my camera, capturing these priceless days to show later at high school graduation parties and to keep for my kids to have when they start a family of their own.
These were days that left me exhausted, with a wrecked house and wet floors.  I went from the house to the rink to the front yard to the woods beyond our property, running to keep up with the kids so I didn't miss a moment.  I carried extra chairs to the kitchen table, taped hockey sticks, and filled tanks on snowmobiles.  I never plowed the driveway, because the kids needed the snow to cross over the drive on the sleds.  My windows were covered with the remnants of snow balls and my lint trap was full in the dryer.  As many as 20 kids would stumble into the house, red cheeks burning and numb toes stinging, all the while laughing and joking and loving my house on snow days.  I was the fun mom, and I loved it!

But these days, not so much.  Now, when the weatherman starts building us up to a snow day, I dread it.  The kids all grew up, and they don't come to my house anymore.  Most of them are in college, and my girls tend to spend an unexpected day off sitting on the couch and watching TV.  It drives me crazy.  When did they stop loving snow?  How did it happen that, in the blink of an eye, I went from fun mom to nagging mom?  I once called out to them "Come inside before you turn into a snowman!" and now I spend snow days begging the kids to get off the couch and just do something, anything.  I suggest my girls take the free time to finally clean their room, and I get the eye roll.  I don't even ask anymore if they could shovel the sidewalk.  I bundle myself up, go outside, shovel heavy snow, and give them dirty looks through the window as they wave to me from the couch.

Yes, these days, things are different.  The hockey rink sits unused, with no ice, a lonely behemoth standing alone in the woods.  No longer do I hear the sounds of skate blades whispering across the ice, pucks pinging off the bar, or boys cheering when they score a goal in a game of hockey with no rules.  The snowmobiles finally broke down for the last time, and I don't even know what became of them.  

The yard, once filled with shouts and laughter, now sits quietly, listening to the snowfall alone with no one to hear its special silence.  When did my kids stop being kids and start being teenagers?  I don't like it.  Instead of falling into bed at night with their arms wrapped around my neck and telling me "Thanks, mom, I had the best day!" they just move the day-long Dance Moms Marathon from the couch to their rooms, wondering why they are so tired after sitting all day.  Snow Days have become Lazy Days, and they are boring.

Winter is almost over for this year.  But next year, when I only have one teenager left at home and we have a Snow Day, I am going to drag my daughter out of the house and bombard her with snowballs.  Then I am going to help her build a snowman, pull her behind the gator on a sled, and make snow angels.  We are going outside next year, together, and I am going to once more enjoy her happy childhood, whether she is happy about it or not.  I'm not ready for Lazy Days, I want Snow Days!